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"Best Practices for Reducing Aggressive Driving"

Indianapolis, Tucson Win Federal Grants
To Begin Aggressive Driving Demonstration Projects

Transportation Secretary Slater Announces Award
Of $400,000 to Combat Aggressive Drivin

U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today announced the award of $200,000 each to the police departments of Indianapolis and Tucson, Ariz., for 18-month-long aggressive driving demonstration projects.

"Aggressive driving threatens public safety," Secretary Slater said. "These two projects will go a long way toward increasing our understanding of aggressive driving and making our roads safer, our communities more liveable and setting an example for other communities to follow."

The department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will work closely with officials from each community to improve understanding of the problem of aggressive driving and possible solutions.

"Combining federal dollars and local community partnerships is a great way to develop creative solutions that communities across the country can adapt to their own needs," NHTSA Deputy Administrator Rosalyn G. Millman, said.

Indianapolis and Tucson were among 57 cities invited to submit aggressive driving enforcement and public information and education demonstration projects. Both Indianapolis and Tucson will conduct high-visibility aggressive driving enforcement in combination with a high-profile public awareness effort - designed to reduce aggressive driving behavior. These projects will help NHTSA identify enforcement strategies and public awareness messages which seem to affect voluntary compliance. Evaluators will examine the changes in the crash frequency rate of each city, providing baseline data, particularly where violations typically associated with aggressive driving were listed as contributing factors.

  • The Indianapolis program. Metropolitan Indianapolis and the Marion County Traffic Safety Partnership surveyed county law enforcement officers and found 86 percent thought aggressive driving had increased dramatically. Plans include unique enforcement tactics to monitor aggressive driving. An awareness and community outreach plan involves a premium give-a-way at the Indy 500 race; coordinated campaign materials designed and distributed by the Indiana Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) Program; print articles, radio and television media spots; displays of aggressive driving materials for use at fairs, community and public safety events, and shopping malls. Marion County also plans to seek support and sponsorship of its major employers and explain the dangers of aggressive driving and the need to practice safe driving to them. Once it establishes a partnership with the Indiana NETS, it can develop and implement a corporate campaign to reach all Marion County corporations with 300-plus employees.
  • The Tucson program. The Tucson Police Department plans to work with the media to keep the public aware of the aggressive driving issue and of the special enforcement activities that are part of their proposal. Officers in marked and unmarked vehicles will be deployed in special enforcement zones, based on crash statistics, to identify and cite drivers for those violations that are commonly associated with aggressive driving. In addition, periodic news releases will highlight positive traffic safety messages and driving tips. The Tucson Police Department "We've Got Your Number Campaign" will put aggressive drivers on notice that their driving is being watched, and a safe method will be provided for motorists to report incidents.

These grants are follow-ons to a demonstration project awarded in October 1998 to the Milwaukee Police Department to demonstrate and evaluate an innovative enforcement and public information and education program designed to reduce aggressive driving. Preliminary reports from Milwaukee indicate that the project there resulted in a reduction of aggressive driving behavior. The final report on that program is expected this summer.

These demonstration projects are part of a NHTSA's effort to develop a comprehensive program that also includes:

  • Distributing a second edition to "Best Practices for Reducing Aggressive Driving" from a network of law enforcement agencies and communities;
  • Working with prosecutors, judges and law enforcement officers who form an implementation group established during NHTSA's "Aggressive Driving and the Law: A Symposium." The group is soliciting input and developing a workable definition of aggressive driving and guidelines for use by law enforcement and the judiciary for charging and sentencing.